By John A. Montgomerie
For The Spectator
Once again, for the third straight year, the citizens of Bridgetown gathered in the Royal Canadian Legion auditorium to honour its athletic heroes. The 2012 Bridgetown Area Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony on November 17 served notice that the spirit of this little town is alive and well. The inductees were piped in by Andy Kerr; Art Marshall chaired the proceedings, assisted by members of the Hall of Fame board of directors. Following greetings by Mayor Horace Hurlburt, Warden Reg Ritchie, and MLA Stephen McNeil, the Legion Auxiliary ladies served a delicious turkey dinner.
The first team to be inducted was the 1946-47 Bridgetown High School Intermediate hockey team, whose phenomenal season was capped by winning the Nova Scotia Headmasters Provincial Championship (15 games, 13 wins, two one-goal losses, 99 goals scored, 21 goals allowed). Members of the team were Rhodes Bent, Ken Crowell, Jim Gatti, Leo Kaulbach, Tom Mack, George Marshall, Lorne Marsman, Fred Rice, Jim Robinson, Don Smith, Doug Smith, Peter Taylor, John Walker, Ron Whitman, Felix Tobin (coach), Alan Irvine (manager), Gerald Fash (assistant manager).
The second team inducted was the 1982-83 Bridgetown Hawks Juvenile B hockey team, which won the Nova Scotia Juvenile B championship in a crowded Bridgetown Arena (62-2-2 season record). Team members were Keith Bent, Jeff Caldwell, Stephen Connell, Brian Corbett, Tom Floris, Bruce Gillis, Greg McGill, Stephen McNeil, Mike Pitman, Kelly Saunders, Shaun Saunders, Terry Saunders, Stacey Symonds, Scott Thomson, Gerry Verran, James Winterburn, Rodney Young, Jim Saunders (coach), Billy Young (assistant coach), Eddie Gillis (trainer), Charles Scarrow (manager), Eddie Taylor (assistant manager). Notable is the achievement of Jim Saunders, who is now a three-time member of the Bridgetown Area Sports Hall of Fame.
In the Builders category, first to be inducted was a team of Rink Builders. In 1965, a fire destroyed Bridgetown's original arena. The work of many volunteers and donors witnessed the opening of the new Bridgetown Memorial Arena on January 18, 1975. Even though hundreds of citizens played a role in the completion of the arena, five men were recognized for their outstanding contribution to its construction: Steve Stevenson, Jim Hannam, Danny Harlow, Hardy Bevis, and Paul Spicer. Stevenson's efforts, in particular, have not gone unnoticed: a plaque dedicated to "Sarge" can be seen in the entrance of the new arena.
Duff Montgomerie was also inducted as a Builder. His sports career began as a BRHS student, playing on provincial championship soccer, volleyball, and track and field teams. He returned as a Physical Education teacher to BRHS, where he coached provincial championship soccer and volleyball teams. In 1973, he was hired as the first executive secretary of the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation, establishing the philosophy and vision of this most successful school athletic organization. His other accomplishments include Co-ordinator of Sport for the NS Department of Recreation, Canada Games Mission Staffs, and Executive Director of the NS Sport and Recreation Commission.
The first athlete to be inducted was Heather Kaulbach. Heather's success in her bowling career is even more remarkable and poignant in that she has been hearing impaired from birth. Coupled with an incredibly positive attitude was a level of focus and determination that allowed her to win many accolades in her 34 years of bowling. She has won single and team championships at the provincial and Atlantic levels; she has won two bronze medals as member of Nova Scotia teams at Canadian finals (1987,1993). In 2005, she won the most sportsmanlike award at the provincial level.
Roy Mansfield was the second athlete of the evening to be inducted. In his school years, soccer and track and field brought him recognition on championship teams. The sport in which he excelled, however, was fastball, beginning with an under-12 team coached by Dewitt Dargie. From age 15 he played for various Bridgetown teams, winning three Nova Scotia titles and one Maritime title. Playing in the Mainland Nova Scotia Senior A Fast Pitch League, several times he led the League batting average, winning a provincial team title in 1974. His proudest sports moment came in 1969 when he played for the Nova Scotia Canada Summer Games team.
Terry Saunders was inducted as a Coach. His early sports career at BRHS as a student was crowned with success, as a member of four provincial championship teams: two in soccer, two in hockey. He was a member of the 1982-83 Nova Scotia Juvenile B provincial championship hockey team, inducted earlier that evening. He returned to Bridgetown as a Physical Education teacher, racking up an incredible string of victories. He coached four consecutive NSSAF Division III boys soccer provincial championship teams from 2006 to 2010; his 2008-09 hockey team became NSSAF III provincial champions; his 2009-10 midget A hockey team were provincial champions.
The final honour of the evening was a Lifetime Achievement Award for Harry Verran. As an athlete, running was the sport which bracketed his life for 50 years. He ran the Boston Marathon in 1955 and 1956, placing 32nd (out of over 300 runners) in the latter. His contributions to sports has been extensive: president of NS Track and Field Association, executive member of NS Senior Hockey League, coach of soccer, track and cross country, coach of hockey at minor, intermediate and senior levels. His generosity and good humor are legendary: he has funded uniforms for his teams and extended hospitality to his players. He remains an enthusiastic fan and spectator.
Thus ended another successful evening of renewed energy and relationships for Bridgetown residents. For information on the nominating procedure and photos of past inductees, go to the web site of the Hall of Fame at www.bridgetownsportshalloffame.org.
Beginning in 2013, a permanent space for the Hall of Fame will be developed and located at the Trojan Sports Centre. Congratulations to the organizers for providing this time of celebration of those who have inspired us as a community.